Selecting the best cooking surface is one of the most important parts of purchasing a commercial range. Each top configuration looks different and offers a unique cooking advantage.
Gas Open Burner
Open burners are a common configuration in the restaurant industry and they are excellent for a variety of cooking styles and techniques.
Open burners are powered by gas alone. Flames are usually visible beneath the burner plates when the power is on.
Burners vary from 20,000 to 35,000 BTUs each, depending on manufacturer.
Great for a variety of cooking styles, typically used for boiling or frying with a pot or pan.
Also known as an "even heat top," this type of surface typically offers more even heat-distribution than open burners
Gas or electric power.
Hot top ranges can come equipped with gas or electric power.
The smooth surface makes it easy to move large pots or pans around without risk of spillage. The very versatile cook surface can even be used as a griddle-but only in emergencies.
Designed for stock pots.
These are designed for heavy-duty use with pots and pans.
The French plate range is the electric version of the gas open burner range and has most of the same applications.
French plate ranges use electric power only.
Sealed electric elements.
These ranges utilize flat, sealed electric elements. These are different from the tubular Calrod elements often seen in residential applications.
The electric elements are ideal for all normal pots and pans, and generally the same cooking applications as a gas open burner.
Griddle top ranges are the common choice for restaurants where breakfast foods are the name of the game, or where cooking directly on a griddle makes the most sense for most menu items.
Gas or electric power.
Griddle top ranges come equipped with gas or electric power.
No pan needed.
With a griddle top, food is cooked directly on the griddle surface; there is no need for a pan.
Great for frying foods.
Typically used for frying (that is, cooking any food product in volume that requires direct contact with the cooking surface). Cook eggs, pancakes, grilled sandwiches, and burgers directly on the smooth griddle surface.
Combination range top configurations are designed for use in commercial kitchens where more than one cooking style or cooking surface is needed on a regular basis.
Gas or electric.
Combination surface range tops can utilize gas or electric power.
Common options include a hot top plus gas open burners, or a griddle plus open burners.
Most common application.
Combination surfaces are best used in applications where the hood space is at premium. This way, the chef can execute multiple types of cooking without purchasing multiple pieces of equipment.
Even though hot top ranges look like griddle top ranges, using a hot top like a griddle is not suggested. The heat is not as evenly distributed under a hot top, so it is not the best choice for cooking food directly on the surface.